Monday, November 23, 2009

APPLE MINCE PIE super light and fruity

My mum sent me her mince meat recipe last night, and I've been a bubbling with ideas on how to make a mince pie that's lighter than the usual one, and full of kentish apples (par cooked autumnal ones, picked up a car boot sale and waiting in my freezer). This pudding is also a bit inspired by the wonderful german strudel which we ate yesterday at the Manchester Christmas Market - an anglo-german marriage of sorts.

I can't help but fiddle with things, so have adapted Mum's recipe, using light dried fruits - those almost green currants, and turkish raisins, and in keeping with my Brixton surrounds, Captain Morgan rum rather than brandy. Her's is a great model because it's vegetarian, using butter instead of suet, which is ideal if you don't yet know how's coming round for Christmas dinner.

For the tart, i made a sugar pastry with some ground almonds, which has made a brittle and lovely moist case. Then a layer of the mince meat, then a scattering of cooked apples, and then a really light custard made with eggs, sugar and milk, rather than the usual double cream. Latticed and baked, this is a delicious, light, and yet unrelentingly Christmassy pudding. I'm going to serve it at The No.1 Village Bakeries with a natural yoghurt. If you were quick in your booking, chances are you may well get this treat then. If not, now is the time to make your mince meat. Follow Mum's recipe, and jar if for the more traditional little mince pies.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

TONIGHTS SUPPER. simple and effective

Tonights dinner is like many a normal dinner, made up of bits and bobs. I've got my old friend Anna Green Armytage coming over, and hopefully we'll have a good old rant and drink some wine, and generally do what friends do. These are not nights to make a fuss over the cooking. They are about simple trusty friendship. So we've got this lovely looking quinoa salad with smoked trout and cucumber and thyme, dressed with lemon and olive oil. I really like this quinoa stuff, much to my surprise. It's nutty and really satisfying. I'll give her a bowl of carrot and ginger soup too, if she plays her cards right.

As I cooked this, I listened to a brilliant podcast, ideal to run in the kitchen. Check it out here It's two little girls having a very funny time, who have music taste quite beyond there years. Agents should watch this space! xxx

Sunday, November 15, 2009

FOOD MARATHON DAYS and i'm feeling my ways

it's been crazy recently. i've hardly stopped eating and will soon be the size of a truck. but it's been truly worth it. thursday saw us at Mirch Masala gorging on so much onion, oil and spice that we actually, on return, had to walk around the block to get our stomachs digesting. it was really delicious (i went crazy and couldn't stop eating the ochra and aubergines) and cheap to boot, plus you can bring your own wine. so that was the first leg of my marathon. next up was friday night, and jerk chicken fresh from the pan of taketwo. we ate this will a yum hard salad that i'm working on for The No.1 Village Bakeries menu. the dark wet chicken meat went perfectly with the hard crunchy herbie salad. and once again i had to retire straight after eating to the comfort of the sofa and the remote controls. and then we pushed things to a whole new level: saturdays are my busy day and i hardly get to eat. come 4pm, on the train to canterbury, i was ravenous. luckily the train stops at Bromley South. we got out and rushed over the road to the best chips in town. these are really crisp, like they've been fried 3 times, and respond incredibly well to malt vinegar. they were absolutely delicious, and i haven't looked back. today however, i am definitely approaching the size of that truck. if i turn into a heffer, i only have myself and my love of superior fast food, to blame.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


This is a Mango Syllabub with Mint and Cinnamon.

It's pretty good. Especially with a cinnamon stick as the spoon.

NEW DISCOVERIES. i thought i'd seen it all in Brixton Market

I love new discoveries. they give me a massive adrenaline rush and make me feel truly alive. The best discoveries involve human contact. Today, I was lucky enough to meet Margarite, who runs The Islanders Kitchen. It's right in the caverns of Brixton Village which feels really exciting at the moment. Stuff is going on. I can't put my finger on it, but it feels good.

Margarite is Phillipino and cooks beautiful home made food from her country of origin, which is a combination of Malay and Spanish. Palms fall out from the shop front, and food is on show in the hot counter. There are trinkets everywhere and the kitchen looks busy and full of pots and bottles. We sat down together over coffee, with her neighbour Pam, and had a good old gas about trading, cooking, and the nature of running a shop. It could have been any year in any country all over the world. The sitting down, particularly as women, and sharing life, is timeless and warming. I loved every moment.

This is the Sea Bass she is marinading today. Underneath are those lovely little aubergines.

I'm definitely going back on satuday. Margarite talked of steaming lemon grass and has promised her special muscles, which sound delicious. All hail exciting discoveries, lovely ladies and fine food.

Monday, November 9, 2009


first poach some belly pork with star anise, cinnamon, red wine, water and juniper berries for an hour

meanwhile sweat red peppers, celery, red onion and tomatoes, with sumac, chillies and orange rind

bake the pork in the oven, covered with coarse salt and honey on gas mark 3 for an hour

serve up with coriander and spring onions on top



we've finally secured what will be a lovely shop unit in brixton market, called THE NO.1 VILLAGE BAKERIES. there's great potential but a lot of cleaning that needs to happen first! in fact, we did the first cleaning binge on sunday, loaded with vim, hangovers and rubber gloves. anyway it's all very exciting.

to book a table, email me

look forward to produce and fun from the following people:







more pictures to follow.